Not so long ago, if ever I wanted to feel depressed all I had to do was leaf through my collection of boatyard bills. Now all I have to do is look over the side and count the bits of plastic floating by. Like a constantly unfolding traffic wreck, I can’t take my eyes off it: a plastic bag here, a drink bottle, a candy wrapper there. There is no end to it. Walk along the shore and even in a pristine New England town the highwater line is speckled with pieces of plastic.
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For the past 5 years I have been monitoring the ICW. My drive is largely enlightened self-interest. We transit the ICW route every year. Over time, we have developed a small group of like minded travelers with whom we have shared notes and observations. The sources I have come to rely on are the USCG Districts 5 and 7 weekly Notice to Mariners, and the USACE Wilmington NC and Charleston SC, district web pages. I also have learned a lot from, and shared content with Hank Pomeranz of Southport SC, Bob Sherer (AKA bob423 and a small fleet of experienced cruises who transit the ICW and the ocean inlets on a regular basis.
October 6, 2018
OCTOBER 3, 2018 The US Army Corps of Engineers has just released a survey of the Carolina Beach Inlet crossing and Lockwoods Folly Inlet crossing. In both places the channels have narrowed and shoaled slightly .
October 1, I received a credible report from a boat which has made it to Southport. They followed my routes through Browns Inlet Crossing, New River inlet Crossing, Mason Inlet Crossing and Masonboro Inlet crossing (See September 27, posting). From there south to Southport they reported that the Carolina Beach inlet crossing has depths which would correct to 8+ feet at MLLW on the track they made. They report that Snows Cut seems to be about as it was. Cape Fear River stinks like a sewer but all is good at Southport Marina. This is more good news, but it is a report from a single vessel and is not an “all clear” for the run from Wrightsville Beach to Southport. Vessels transiting this area should proceed with caution and watch for unexpected shoaling. In Southport they met with Hank Pomeranz. Hank has not begun to host the evening ICW briefings, but expects to start them up in another week or so. They decided to go outside from Cape Fear to Winyah Bay, so, they can give us no update on Lockwoods Folly or Shallotte.
For cruisers headed south, the reports indicate that while hurricane Florence wreaked havoc in parts in North Carolina, many of the marinas along the ICW between Norfolk, VA Beaufort, NC are open and accepting transients. Between Beaufort, NC and Georgetown SC there is extensive damage (See black dashed oval in the attached picture.). There are no reliable reports of the conditions in the known trouble spots at the CW inlet crossings. Beaufort Town docks reports that they only know of one boat headed south in the ICW. The boats headed south are going offshore 160 nautical miles to Georgetown or 205 miles to Charleston. Between Beaufort and Myrtle Beach, marinas are reporting very little boat movement. Between Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, no boats are moving today.
Update 12:00 EDT September 17, 2018